Date of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Science (PhD)


Computing and Software


Martin von Mohrenschildt


Doug Down



Committee Member

Doug Down


This thesis presents a method for the design of a predictive controller with variable step sizes.Predictive methods such as receding horizon control (or model predictive control) use aa fixed sampling frequency when updating the inputs. In the proposed method, the switchingtimes are incorporated into an optimization problem, thus resulting in anadaptive step-size control process. The controller with variable timesteps is shown to require less tuning and to reduce the number of expensive model evaluations.An alternate solution approach had to be developed to accommodate the new problem formulation.The controller's stability is proven in a context that does not require terminal cost or constraints.The thesis presents examples that compare the performance of the variable switching time controllerwith the receding horizon method with a fixed step size. This research opens many roads for futureextension of the theoretical work and practical applications of the controller.

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